Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says the soon to be introduced expropriation legislation will go a long way in easing the pressures of the housing backlog by availing more land for development.
Sisulu said this when she briefed media two hours before she tabled the department’s budget vote in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.
The Minister said that this comes at the back of a need for belt-tightening by the department, which is expected to deliver more houses with less resources.
“As our population grows and our people go out in the streets and protest for housing, our resources diminish. It is for this reason that the expropriation processes are eagerly awaited by us because it will significantly assist us to offset the pressure.”
Sisulu said the department would make sure it works better and that it embraces the possibilities offered by new technologies.
She said that this would help the department to respond to all communities in an impactful manner.
“In working smarter, we are committed to resuscitate our relations with the construction industry.”
Sisulu said she intended to have an indaba with the construction industry at the earliest opportunity to strategise how the department can work better.
The Minister will propose legislation that will give the department the necessary power to restructure the environment in order to remove the frustrations of the construction industry.
“In 2004, we reframed our approach to housing development and took on the concept of human settlements as opposed to housing.
“The pivotal difference here was that we were no longer building houses, we were building communities with all its amenities.
“We were integrating our communities, all the while removing the segregation of apartheid spatial planning.
“We were building cities and increasing our output. We were partnering with the private sector, especially the banking sector and calling these partnerships catalytic projects.”
Building integrated communities with amenities
To date, government has built more than two catalytic projects in every province, some more successful than others.
This includes Cosmo City, a community that is multiclass, multiracial and multinational.
“The city consists of 12 000 units, with mixed typologies that range from fully subsidised houses to bonded houses and rental units. It is a thriving city with all the elements that our policy determines constitute a human settlement — complete with 12 schools, three shopping malls, health facilities, police stations, a community centre with a hall, 43 parks and recreational areas, a library, a cemetery and several churches,” she said.
She also spoke of Cornubia, another project in KwaZulu-Natal.
Once complete, Cornubia will consist of more than 28 000 housing units of various typologies – Breaking New Ground, social housing and open market units; seven secondary schools, 18 primary schools, four primary health clinics, two community centres, one police station, four multipurpose halls, three local libraries, two swimming pools, sports fields, parks, a fire station, a civic centre, crèche facilities and local retail facilities.
Focus on student accommodation
The Minister said, meanwhile, that the department will soon be entering the space of student accommodation.
“We will roll out our projects together with the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
“Our aim is to ensure that 30% of any social housing project should be allocated to student accommodation.” – SAnews.gov.za